Wednesday, July 14, 2021


NEW RELEASE SPOTLIGHT

THE FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP




 In Horror movies, the final girls are the ones left standing when the credits roll. They made it through the worst night of their lives…but what happens after?

 
Like his bestselling novel The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, Grady Hendrix’s latest is a fast-paced, frightening, and wickedly humorous thriller. From chain saws to summer camp slayers, The Final Girl Support Group pays tribute to and slyly subverts our most popular horror films—movies like The Texas Chainsaw MassacreA Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream.
 
Lynette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre. For more than a decade, she’s been meeting with five other final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, working to put their lives back together. Then one woman misses a meeting, and their worst fears are realized—someone knows about the group and is determined to rip their lives apart again, piece by piece.
 
But the thing about final girls is that no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.



“A great read…[Hendrix] excels at writing horror humor… His characters are funny and real, though at least one will definitely lose a limb at some point…Though the final girls’ plight has all the scares of great horror fiction, there is an element of truth in their situation that will be recognizable to anyone who has experienced real trauma.” – The New York Times

The Final Girl Support Group is funny, scary, and a roaring good time. Grady Hendrix puts his own spin on final girls and I loved it.”—Samantha Downing, USA Today bestselling author of My Lovely Wife

"Take slasher movie adoration, critique, and satire, mix with compelling, flawed characters and neck-breaking plot twists, and drop it all into an industrial blender with large blades. Voilà, you now have Grady's maniacally clever and compulsively readable The Final Girl Support Group."—Paul Tremblay, national bestselling author of Survivor Song

“A wildly entertaining romp through the conventions of horror’s slasher film subgenre…Hendrix masterfully evokes the paranoid existences of his diverse cast in the aftermath of their traumatic ordeals, and he so explicitly details the massacres and fictional film sagas that grew out of them that readers may believe them to be real. The result is a wonderfully suspenseful and darkly comic novel that cleverly subverts popular culture. Horror fans will be wowed.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

About the Author

Grady Hendrix is an award-winning novelist and screenwriter living in New York City. He is the author of HorrorstörMy Best Friend’s Exorcism (which is being adapted into a feature film by Amazon Studios), We Sold Our Souls, and the New York Times bestseller The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires (currently being adapted into a TV series). Grady also authored the Bram Stoker Award-winning nonfiction book, Paperbacks from Hell, a history of the horror paperback boom of the '70s and '80s.

Available now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

Friday, July 2, 2021

ROCCO's July Cozy Reviews!

 

Meow!  Here are  my July Reviews!

First up an old favorite series!

A DEADLY DELETION

A Booktown Mystery

Lorna Barrett

Berkley; Hardcover; July 27, 2021

Five Stars


murder leads to a string of shocking revelations for bookstore owner Tricia Miles in the latest entry to Lorna Barrett's New York Times bestselling Booktown series. 


Tricia Miles has just received a second marriage proposal within fifteen minutes. The first was from her friend with benefits, Marshall Chambers, and the second from her ex-lover, police chief Grant Baker. Tricia's got some serious thinking to do.

She's still weighing her options when she hears the sound of an engine roaring down Main Street. It's a big white pickup truck that aims for and hits Marshall as he's walking back to his apartment. Tragically, he's killed, leaving Tricia feeling bereft and guilty. She retreats to her sister, Angelica's, apartment to wait for Baker to update her on what happened. While there, Tricia takes Angelica's dog out for a comfort call behind the building, and the same white pickup roars up the alley and just misses hitting Tricia.

Still shaken by that news, Tricia returns to Haven't Got a Clue and is met by federal marshal Kirby, who tells her that Marshall had been in the Federal Witness Protection Program. Everything Marshall told Tricia was a lie—in particular, that he was a widower. Was his death an act of revenge?

Tricia's on the hunt for a killer, and it seems like she might be next on the list.

This has become one of our favorite series. We love to follow the adventures of Tricia and Anjelica and see what sort of trouble Trish always gets into.  Loved the fact that Baker finally came to his senses and proposed!  Can't wait to see where the next installment takes Trish!  Five paws!!!!




MOONSHINE SHACK MURDER
DIANE KELLY
BERKLEY; MASS MARKET PAPERBACK
JULY 6, 2021
FOUR STARS



In this intoxicating new cozy mystery series, the future for modern-day moonshiner Hattie Hayes looks bright--until death darkens the doorstep of her Moonshine Shack.

The Hayes family has made moonshine in Chattanooga since the days of Prohibition, and Hattie is happy to continue the tradition, serving up fun, fruity flavors in mason jars for locals and tourists alike. All signs indicate her new 'shine shop will be a smashing success. What's more, mounted police officer Marlon Landers has taken a shine to Hattie. For the first time ever, the stars seemed to have aligned in both her work and romantic life. But when a body ends up on her store's doorstep alongside a broken jar of her Firefly Moonshine, it just might be lights out for her fledgling business.

The homicide detective can't seem to identify the person who killed the owner of a nearby bar. The only witness is Hattie's longhaired gray cat, and Smoky isn't talking. When the detective learns that the victim and Hattie had a heated exchange shortly before his murder, she becomes her prime suspect.

Lest Hattie end up behind bars like her bootlegging great-grandfather a century before, she must distill the evidence herself and serve the killer a swift shot of justice.

This is definitely different - a sleuth who  makes moonshine!  New series that's definitely worth a look! Four paws.



A FATAL FOOTNOTE
AN OPEN BOOK MYSTERY
BERKLEY; MASS MARKET PAPERBACK
JULY 6, 2021
MARGARET LOUDEN
FOUR PAWS



Penelope Parish will need to use every trick in her quaint British bookshop to unravel a murderous plot that threatens to ruin a ducal wedding.

The wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Upper Chumley-on Stoke has all the makings of a fairy tale, complete with a glowing bride and horse-drawn carriage. But it wouldn't be much of a story without a villain, and as American Gothic novelist Penelope Parish is coming to learn, happy-ever-afters are as fraught in this charming British town as they are in her books.

When the Duke's former girlfriend is found murdered at the reception it's up to Penelope and her newfound family at the Open Book bookshop to catch the killer before they strike again.

Second in series and a good follow up to #1, Murder in the Margins!  Definite four paws.




SYNCHRONIZED SORCERY
JULIET BLACKWELL
WITCHCRAFT MYSTERY
BERKLEY; MASS MARKET PAPERBACK
JULY 6, 2021
FOUR AND A HALF PAWS



As witch and vintage store owner Lily Ivory steps into her new role as leader of the Bay Area's magical community, she's faced with a mysterious death of magical proportions...

Strange things are happening in Lily Ivory's San Francisco. First, she finds a vintage mermaid costume which dates from the 1939 San Francisco's Treasure Island World's Fair – and which gives off distinctly peculiar vibrations. Next, she stumbles upon a dead man in the office of her predecessor, and as the community's new leader, she feels compelled to track down the culprit. Just when Lily thinks things can't get any stranger, a man appears claiming to be her half-brother, spouting ideas about the mystical prophecy involving San Francisco and their family...

When the dead man is linked to the mysterious mermaid costume, and then yet another victim is found on Treasure Island, Lily uncovers ties between the long-ago World’s fair and the current murders, and begins to wonder whether the killer might be hiding in plain sight. But unless Lily can figure everything out in time, there may be yet another body floating in San Francisco Bay.

Who doens't love a good mystery with elements of the supernatural, and a Lily Ivory one in particular?  This one is no exception!!!!!  Four and a half paws!

Friday, June 18, 2021

Win an audio copy of HISS H FOR HOMICIDE!!!!!

 TANTOR has generously provided us with some complimentary audio copies of HISS H FOR HOMICIDE!  And we're sharing them with you!


They've provided a code to use to download a free audio copy of the book.  We're giving away three!!!!!!


To enter, leave your name and email address in our comments section and tell us what you love about Nick and Nora! Tell us what you don't love, too!  We'll choose three at random to get the code (with instructions) to download your free copy!!!!!!


Contest ends midnight, June 30th!!!!!!!!




Wednesday, June 16, 2021

ROCCO'S JUNE COZY REVIEWS!

 Meow!

Here are my cozy reviews for June!


MURPHY'S SLAW

An Alaskan Diner Mystery

Elizabeth Logan

Berkley; MMPB

June 1, 2021

Four and a half paws



When a local prize-winning farmer is murdered at the state fair, Charlie Cook gets called in to help investigate, but she’s shocked to learn the victim is a friend in this latest installment in the Alaskan Diner Mysteries.

Charlie Cooke loves many things, like the Bear Claw Diner, the heated steering wheel of her car, and her orange tabby cat Eggs Benedict. Something she has never loved is the state fair. So when her best friend Annie Jensen begs her for a fair day, she’s reluctant.  But Annie isn’t the only one who wants her to spend a day among farm animals and deep fried food. A vendor has been murdered, and Trooper Graham needs his favorite part-time sleuth to dig up the truth, and Charlie is happy to oblige.

The case grows personal when Charlie learns the victim is Kelly Carson, whom she and Annie were friends with in high school. If Charlie wants to find justice for Kelly, she and Annie will have to work together to weed out the killer.


OK, who wouldn't love a series with a cat named Eggs Benedict?????  We enjoyed the first two in this series, and #3 does not disappoint.  We are hopeful for more!!!!!!  four and a half paws.


Death on the Night of Lost Lizards

Hungarian Tea House Mystery

Julia Buckley

Berkley; MMPB; June 1, 2021

Four Paws



Along with her mother and grandmother, Hana Keller has achieved renown serving tea and cakes with a European flair, but when a local professor is killed, she uncovers a serving of suspects instead…

Hana Keller is getting ready for a lovely holiday season. When she receives a rare tea set as a birthday gift, she decides to host a tea at her apartment for her closest friends. During the cozy get-together, one of Hana's friends gets word that a murderer is on the loose. Hana soon learns that the victim was Sandor Balog, a professor of Hungarian Studies at the local college.

With her growing psychic ability, Hana senses that she is going to be pulled into the investigation of  the professor's death somehow. With her sexy boyfriend Erik on the case, Hana finds the Tea House steeped in suspects. She studies the smiling faces celebrating the season, but the real killer is good at hiding the truth and putting Hana in the hot seat….


Not one of our favorites in this series, but still a good read!


Murder She Wrote: Killing in a Koi Pond

Jessica Fletcher/Terrie Farley Moran

Berkley; Hardcover; June 8, 2021

Four and a half stars



When a friend’s husband dies while Jessica Fletcher is in town visiting, Jessica’s vacation turns into a murder investigation in this latest entry in the long-running USA Today bestselling series.

After traveling to Bethesda for a mystery writers’ conference, Jessica Fletcher decides she’s earned a vacation and takes a train to Columbia, South Carolina, to visit her old college friend Dolores, who has recently married her third husband, Willis Nickens, a wealthy and cutthroat businessman. They’ve moved into an opulent historic home with plenty of space for guests, and Jessica is ready for a week of shopping, gossiping, and relaxing at the grand estate.

But the morning after she arrives, Jessica discovers Willis facedown in the koi pond, and despite what the police think, she’s sure foul play is involved. She hadn’t known Willis long, but it’s clear to her that he didn’t concern himself with making friends. The question isn’t if her friend’s husband was murdered but by whom.


Seems to us a if Jessica goes back to her roots in this one.  The mystery takes on a different tone than those previously written;  however, longtime fans of the series will enjoy!


The Listening House

Mabel Seeley

Berkley; June 8, 2021

Trade paperback - Cover image not available

Down and out in the Depression, Gwynne Dacres moves into a seedy and sinister boarding house, where she exposes deadly secrets in this classic mystery by Mabel Seeley

After losing her copywriting job, young Gwynne Dacres seeks a place to live when she stumbles upon Mrs. Garr's old boarding house. Despite the gruff landlady and an assortment of shifty tenants, Gwynne rents a room for herself. She spends her first few nights at 593 Trent Street tensely awake, the house creaking and groaning as if listening to everything that happens behind its closed doors.

A chain of chilling events leads to the gruesome discovery of a mutilated body in the basement kitchen, dead of unknown circumstances. Was it an accident or murder? Under the red-black brick façade of the old house on Trent Street, Gwynne uncovers a myriad of secrets, blackmail, corruption, and clues of a wicked past. As she closes in on the truth, the cold, pale hands of death reach for Gwynne in the night…


This reminded me of one of those old 1940's Noir mysteries!  Definitely a good read!


Little Black Book

Kate Carlisle

Bibliophile Mysteries

Berkley/Hardcover/June 29, 2021

Five Stars



San Francisco book-restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright is on the case when a rare edition of Rebecca leads to murder in this latest installment of the New York Times bestselling Bibliophile Mystery series.

Brooklyn and her hunky husband, security expert Derek Stone, have just returned from a delightful trip to Dharma, where the construction of their new home away from home is well underway, when a little black book arrives in the mail from Scotland. The book is a rare British first edition of Rebecca, and there’s no return address on the package. The day after the book arrives, Claire Quinn shows up at Brooklyn and Derek’s home. Brooklyn met Claire when the two women worked as expert appraisers on the television show This Old Attic. Brooklyn appraised books on the show and Claire’s expertise was in antique British weaponry, but they bonded over their shared love of gothic novels.
 
Claire reveals that during a recent trip to Scotland she discovered her beloved aunt was missing and her home had been ransacked. Among her aunt’s belongings, Claire found the receipt for the package that wound up with Brooklyn and Derek. Claire believes both her own life and her aunt’s are in danger and worries that her past may be coming back to haunt her.
 
But just as Brooklyn and Derek begin to investigate, a man who Claire thinks was following her is found murdered, stabbed with a priceless jeweled dagger. With a death on their doorstep, Brooklyn and Derek page through the little black book, where they discover clues that will take them to the shadows of a medieval Scottish castle on the shores of Loch Ness. Under the watchful gaze of a mysterious laird and the irascible villagers who are suspicious of the strangers in their midst, Brooklyn and Derek must decode the secrets in Rebecca to keep their friend’s past from destroying their future....

It took us awhile to find this series and, we admit, weren't entranced at first....but now we are die hard fans of Brooklyn, Derek, and their friends!  Each mystery is better than the last, and this one is no exception!  We are defintely looking forward to more!  Five Paws!!!!!!!!


THE TIME FOR MURDER IS MEOW

AN URBAN TAILS PET SHOP MYSTERY

T. C. LOTEMPIO

BEYOND THE PAGE; E-BOOK, TRADE PAPERBACK

JUNE 9, 2021  RE-RELEASE


This book was originally published by Midnight Ink, and discontinued after publication of book one when MI ended their fiction line.  Fortunately, Beyond the Page has picked up the series for books 1-4!!!!!!!!



When her TV series is canceled, struggling actress Shell McMillan considers it a blessing in disguise. A beloved aunt who recently died left her a pet shop in her will, and she sees it as the perfect chance to walk away from Hollywood and make a fresh start in the sleepy town of Fox Hollow.

But adjusting to small-town life won’t be easy, as Shell realizes when the head of the museum board is found murdered not long after Shell had a very public argument with her. And when the new kid in town is fingered for the crime, she’ll have to rely on her own wit and pluck and the kindness of strangers to get herself off the hook.

Desperate to exonerate herself and catch the real culprit, Shell begins digging into the lives of the local residents, and she quickly discovers that the victim had no shortage of enemies. As the suspect list grows and time runs short, Shell and her cats will have to claw their way out of danger—and it’s meow or never . . .

“A buoyant start to a new series . . . Fans of feline mysteries will relish The Time for Murder Is Meow’s pet shop framework in this story of finding one’s second act.” —Foreword Reviews


Unfortunately, we cannot review the human's work for obvious reasons LOL.  But feel free to check out what others think on Amazon, GoodReads and Barnes and Noble!!!!!!!


Want to win a paper copy of the new TIME FOR MURDER IS MEOW?


Leave your name and email addy in our comments section.  One winner will be chosen at random. US entries only please.  Contest ends  midnight, June 28





Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Spotlight on MELISSA LARSEN' SHUTTER

SPOTLIGHT ON NEW RELEASE:


SHUTTER

Berkley - Trade Paperback - $14.95

Melissa Larsen




Suspense, horror, power, control, voyeurism, and sexual politics all blend together in a tale that’s deliciously creepy with what Publishers Weekly has called a “knockout punch of a surprise ending.”  

Already named by Bustle and Barnes & Noble’s blog as one of their most anticipated debuts of 2021, Melissa Larsen proves to be a compelling new voice in suspense fiction. 

 

In the wake of her father's death, Betty doesn't allow herself to mourn. Instead, she pushes away her mother, breaks up with her boyfriend, and leaves everything behind to move to New York City crashing on her old friend Sophia and Sophia’s boyfriend Ben’s, couch. Sophia and Ben introduce Betty to their friend and indie filmmaker darling Anthony Marino, whose previous movie is a favorite of Betty’s. She starstruck by Anthony and, while slightly afraid of him, completely captivated by him as well. When he offers her the chance to play the leading role in his latest project, a loose re-make of Cape Fear, she jumps at the opportunity.

 

The four of them head to Anthony’s family’s cabin off the coast of Maine for several weeks to shoot the film. Betty starts to get more apprehensive about what she’s gotten herself into. She continuously finds herself pulled under Anthony’s alluring spell, but there’s no real script, or at least one that Betty’s not privy to. Anthony gives her a new identity, Lola, and a radical makeover to fit the part. But Betty tells herself that this is exactly what she's been looking for: the chance to reinvent herself. That is, until she meets Sammy, the island’s caretaker, and Betty realizes just how little she knows about the movie and its director and is certainly in over her head.

 



Shutter releases today!  Get your copy at: Amazon,Barnes and Noble.


About the

Author


Melissa Larsen has an M.F.A. from Columbia University and a B.A. from NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She has interned and worked extensively in publishing. She lives in San Francisco, and Shutter is her first novel.




Thursday, June 3, 2021

Anniversary Time - TC and her agent, Josh Getzler!

Meow!  Today marks 10 years that the human, better known as T. C. Lotempio, signed with her literary agent, Josh Getzler!!!!!!!!  Josh is responsible for getting the Nick and Nora mysteries into print (both incarnations) as well as the Cat Rescue Mysteries and both incarnations of the Pet Shop Mysteries!  And, we hope, more to come!!!!!  The Human has a few words to say about her lovely agent!








Thanks ROCCO!

Getting started as a writer isn't easy.  You need, first of all, a good manuscript.  Then,  more often than not, you need a good agent, someone who knows what they're doing, who to contact, what houses are right for your novel, etc.  

I had to kiss a lot of frogs before I found my prince, but find him I did!  Ten years ago I sent Josh 50 pages of a novel about an allergic vampire slayer.  He read it, loved it, and signed me on as a client on June 3, 2011.  To date we have yet to sell that manuscript, but we did go on to sell three other series:  the Nick and Nora mysteries, the Cat Rescue mysteries, and the Pet Shop mysteries (recently re-released as Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries.) And here's how it all happened:

2011:  I send out 100 queries on my manuscript, SLAY ME ONCE.  Two agents offer repreentation.  I sign with Josh and his new agency, Hannigan Salky Getzler, on June 3, 2011.

January 14, 2013:  After a rewrite and Hurricane Katrina wreaks havoc, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, the first Nick and Nora, sells to Penguin!

December 2, 2014:  the first Nick and Nora is published.

2015/2016 - We shop around PURR M FOR MURDER, and it's finally published (after rewrite) by Crooked Lane.

2017/2018 - I write a story about a former actress, Shell McMillan.  Shell had many professions before she finally became a pet store owner and Midnight Ink bought the book in February of 2018.

2020 - We find a home for Nick and Nora and the Pet Shop mysteries at Beyond the Page!  They are publishing Nick and Nora 4-7 and Pet Shop 1-4.  And who knows, maybe more!

I have high hopes that Josh will continue to sell my manuscripts - hopefully, the two he's got right now LOL.  and there might be some other things up his sleeve, who knows???????   I look forward to another ten years with him!  (Oh, and I never thought Josh would be a cat person...but as you can see from the photo above, he's been converted!)

And who knows....he just  might sell that allergic vampire series someday!!!!!!!!


In honor of our anniversary, Josh has agreed to do ROCCO's Fast Five!





How do you get out of a bad mood?

 

I go out for a run with my wife. We've been running for around 3 years, and during Covid it turned into the thing that kept us from losing our minds. And with three (pretty grown-up) kids, a dog, and a cat with us in our apartment, it was one of the only ways the two of us had time alone together! It makes us happy, and lets us be together and solve the problems of the world.   
 
What hobby/interest are you a little obsessed with?
 
I play drums, and get really relaxed and zen behind the drum set, even though I'm more academic than emotional about my playing. I just like doing something very different with my brain, and it makes me incredibly happy, even when I'm not very good.
 
On what topic do you feel qualified to give advice
Baseball (ROCCO's note:  we should mention that Josh formerly owned a farm baseball team, the Staten Island Yankees!  So the man knows his baseball!!!!)
 
What was your best family vacation?
The northwest coast of Costa Rica for Passover a few years ago. It was gorgeous, relaxed, and a very different environment from where we usually hang out.
 
If you could live anywhere other than NYC, where would it be?
London, without any question; then Rome, then DC. I could live in any of those cities like a native in very short order. But I will never leave NY (except maybe for a sabbatical in London when the kids are out of the house...) 


Happy Anniversary, Josh and TC!

In honor of our anniversary, I'll give away a signed print edition of the Purr M for Murder paperback recently released by Harlequin.  Leave your name and email address in our comments section below to enter.  Contest closes midnight, June 10.  US entries only, please.

Friday, May 14, 2021

ROCCO reviews "Peaches and Schemes" (and Anna Gerard does our Fast Five!)


meow!  Today I have the pleasure of reviewing Anna Gerard's third instalment in her Georgia B&B Series, PEACHES AND SCHEMES!



In Anna Gerard's third delightful Georgia B&B mystery, Nina Fleet learns that despite the satin, lace, and buttercream trappings, weddings often prove to be anything but sweet...


Nina Fleet might be new to the innkeeping business, but she's savvy enough to know that Cymbeline's tourists aren't enough to keep her fledgling bed and breakfast going. And so, Nina decides to tap into the destination wedding market by taking a booth at the Veils and Vanities Bridal Expo. The twice-yearly event is sponsored by the town's two wedding pros: Virgie Hamilton, the sixtysomething owner of Virgie's Formals, and Roxanna Quarry, a Gen X event planner and Nina's new friend. But everything goes wrong during the expo's fashion show, when Roxanna comes tumbling out of an oversized prop wedding cake, strangled to death by her own scarf.

Virgie is arrested for the crime, thanks to Nina's statement to the police about having overheard the woman accusing her partner of embezzlement. Meanwhile, the situation grows tense with her sometimes nemesis and current tenant, the dashing out-of-work actor Harry Westcott. Harry is concentrating on plugging his most recent side hustle ...but he's not too busy to break the news to Nina that her ex-husband is engaged to be married again.

Certain that Virgie's only offense is a bad temper, Nina decides to do her own investigating. First, however, she and Harry retrieve Roxanna's now ownerless dog, planning to foster him until a new home can be found. But local gossip soon convinces Nina that others beside Virgie might have had reason to murder Roxanna. As Nina gets close to the truth, she's putting her own life at danger. And when Virgie vanishes after being bailed out of jail by an unknown benefactor, Nina fears that if she can't find the dress shop owner in time, tying the knot will take on a whole new meaning for them both.


So what is there  not to like about this series?  I've been a fan of the author's other series (Black Cat Bookshop, written as Ali Brandon) and thoroughly enjoy this one.  I do enjoy the interaction between Nina and Harry (what a rogue!) and I do hope the series continues so there might possibly be a chance of a romance between these two!!!!!!!!!!  an excellent series!  If you haven't tried it yet, highly recommend.  Five paws up! (and both ROCCO and Maxx approved!)


And now.....

ROCCO'S FAST FIVE! with Anna Gerard!

 

·        Cats and Dogs are featured prominently in your books.  Are any of them modeled after your own pets? 

Of course! Brandon Bobtail and Ophelia in my Tarot Cats Mysteries are based on my own kitties, Brandon and Ophelia. Like their characters, they are sibling black cats although real life Brandon—who also has half a tail—is far snarkier than his literary namesake. As for Mattie the Aussie in my Georgia B&B Mystery series, she is based on a combination of two dearly departed Aussie pups of mine…Oliver and Matilda. Mattie was the smartest dog I’ve ever known, but not the friendliest to outsiders. Oliver was a big fluff head who was everyone’s friend. Together they make the ideal dog, who is my amateur sleuth Nina Fleet’s Mattie.

 

·        What was your favorite childhood book or series?

            I started out young with mysteries as I cut my reading “teeth” on the Bobbsey Twins. From there, any book with magic (particularly all the Edgar Eager and Zilpha Keatley Snyder books) were always on my library checkout list.

 

·        How do you relax after a stressful day?

Relax? What’s that? If I’m lucky after the day job and all the home chores and (hopefully) a bit of writing. I usually veg out in bed watching old sitcoms.

 

·        What is your favorite movie quote? 

“They’re coming to get you, Barbara!”

 

·        What's something that's always in your fridge?

Diet Coke (and ice cream in the freezer!).


Thank you, Anna!


Folks you can find out all about new releases at the author's website:

https://www.dianestuckart.com/


Also, visit https://bookloversbench.com/ to enter a giveaway to win free books!


ROCCO and I will giveaway a signed copy of the MMPB of  PURR M FOR MURDER to the first person who correctly identifies Diane's movie quote!   Put your guesses in our comments section below!  ends midnight, May 15.




Friday, May 7, 2021

ROCCO's May Cozy Reviews!

Meow!  It's time for my May Cozy Reviews:


ARSENIC AND ADOBO

Mia P. Manansala

A Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery

Trade Paperback/Berkley

Release date: 5/4/21

Four 1/2 stars




The first book in a new culinary cozy series full of sharp humor and delectable dishes—one that might just be killer....

When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She's tasked with saving her Tita Rosie's failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.

With the cops treating her like she's the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila's left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…


a good first entry in what appears to be a promising series!


FOR BATTER OR WORSE

A cupcake bakery mystery

JENN MCKINLAY

Berkley MMPB

Release date: 5/4/21

4 1/2 stars


Life is sweet and business is booming at the Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery—and the fact that Mel and Joe are getting married is the icing on the cake. Their reception will be held at the swanky resort where Oz works as the pastry chef. The wedding planning is all fun-fetti and games until Mel and Joe meet the head chef at the resort who has been making Oz's life miserable. When the eccentric chef insults Mel's bakery, Oz gets into a blowout argument with the culinary prima donna. 

Things turn extra sour when the chef is murdered, and Oz is the police's main suspect. As the countdown to the wedding day begins, Mel, Joe, and the rest of the Fairy Tale Cupcake crew must sift through clues to catch the real killer and clear Oz's name before their wedding plans are totally battered and baked.


This is the thirteenth entry in this popular series, which shows no evidence of running out of steam!  A four and a half paw tail!!!!!!


GHOST AND THE HAUNTED PORTRAIT

CLEO COYLE

A Haunted Bookshop Mystery

MMPB - Berkley

Release date - 5/4/21

Four 1/2 Paws




BERKLEY/MMPB

RELEASE DATE: 5/4/21


Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure and her gumshoe ghost team up to solve the stunning mystery at the heart of a madwoman’s self-portrait in this all new installment from New York Times bestselling author Cleo Coyle.
 
While gathering a collection of vintage book cover paintings for a special event in her quaint Rhode Island bookshop, Penelope discovers a spooky portrait of a beautiful woman, one who supposedly went mad, according to town gossip. Seymour, the local mailman, falls in love with the haunting image and buys the picture, refusing to part with it, even as fatal accidents befall those around it. Is the canvas cursed? Or is something more sinister at work?
 
For answers, Pen turns to an otherworldly source: Jack Shepard, PI. Back in the 1940s, Jack cracked a case of a killer cover artist, and (to Pen’s relief) his spirit is willing to help her solve this mystery, even if he and his license did expire decades ago.


We are big fans of Cleo's Coffee house mysteries, and this series is quickly becoming another favorite!  We are also big paranormal fans, so anything combining cozy and paranormal is #1 with  us!  4 1/2 paws.



The Diva Serves Forbidden Fruit

Domestic Diva Mystery Series

Krista Davis

Kensington; Hardcover

May 25, 2021


4 1/2 Stars


he latest Domestic Diva mystery from New York Times bestselling author, Krista Davis, entertaining maven Sophie Winston must cut to the core of another murder investigation when members of an international tour group begin dropping like flies all over Old Town, Virginia . . .
 
With Old Town’s DIY Home Decorating Festival in full swing, Sophie’s swamped, juggling a bumper crop of artisans, antique dealers, and decorators for the busy street fair. Still, when her best friend Nina suddenly needs a ride from the airport, Sophie is happy to help . . . until she sees Nina disembarking in a state of disarray. It’s obvious the trip to Portugal soured somewhere along the way. But after one of Nina’s traveling companions turns up murdered the following day, Sophie knows something is truly rotten . . .
 
Though the crime scene is staged to look like an accident, Sophie isn’t fooled and peels off to conduct her own investigation. Her only clue is a strange image the victim scratched into the soil before dying. Could it point to a cryptic killer in Old Town? A bitter travel adversary? Or a cursed artifact smuggled back from the trip? As the mystery grows, so does the body count, and if Sophie doesn’t pluck the murderer soon, her best friend may be the next to fall . . .


One of our favorite series, and Sophie and Natasha are two of our favorite divas!  So glad kensington picked up this series.  4 1/2 paws!!!!